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Strategic Sonoma Scorecard

Strategic Plan

Last updated December 2019


Strategic Sonoma is a five-year economic development strategic action plan for Sonoma County. Strategic Sonoma was commissioned by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board (EDB) in partnership with the Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board and Santa Rosa Junior College, and approved by the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on July 10, 2018. The plan includes three parts: (1) a Competitive Assessment, providing extensive data and benchmarking analysis, (2) a Target Cluster Analysis, identifying key industries in Sonoma County, and (3) an Action Plan, outlining strategic goals and specific projects to address Sonoma County’s strategic priorities and create a more resilient, vibrant economy. Utilizing a collaborative framework, the Action Plan includes a discussion on implementation, suggests partner organizations to be involved with each goal, and offers metrics to track progress and provide accountability.

Read the full plan

As the plan moves from development into the implementation phase, Inclusive Economic Development continues to be a primary theme. Through the planning process, the planning team spoke directly to nearly 200 individuals representing more than 140 organizations from across the county. As we work our way through the five-year action plan, the Strategic Sonoma team will provide progress updates and opportunities for feedback and collaboration. Since the plan’s approval in July, progress has been made in all six priority areas of the action plan, with many projects ahead of schedule:

  • In the priority area of Recovery, every single action item recommended by Strategic Sonoma has been accomplished.
  • In Housing, the Santa Rosa Metro Chamber has launched the recommended Employer Housing Council and the County and Cities continue to explore short-term housing solutions and make progress on updating policies to expedite the development of new housing options.
  • In Talent, employers and educators are building partnerships and new programs to address the county’s workforce challenges.
  • In Diversification, manufacturing and tech companies have come together to explore forming a Manufacturing and Tech Alliance to address issues of common concern to strengthen manufacturing and tech as a major cluster in the Sonoma County economy.
  • In Sustainability, cities are working to create incentives to encourage green building practices and the county is continuing to convert government fleets to electric vehicles.
  • In Mobility, the cities and county are collaborating with regional planning agencies to leverage regional networks and resources, as well as update their own plans to increase Last Mile solutions and affordable options.

This progress report does its best to capture a high level view of what is being accomplished with respect to the recommended projects in the Strategic Sonoma Action Plan. It is by no means a complete representation of all the work that all non-profits, private companies, educational institutions, and government entities are engaged in throughout Sonoma County. We recognize that it is impossible to include everyone, so this report mainly consists of self-reported progress and progress made by partners we are directly working with

Project Overview

Progress to Date: in the priority goal area of recovery, 7 out of 7 projects are completed or on-going. In housing, 5 are complete or on-going, one is in progress, one is incomplete, and one has yet to be started. In Talent, 3 are compoleted or on-going and four are in progress. In diversification, 2 are in progress, and 5 are not started. In sustainability, 1 is complete, two are in progress, and four are not started. In mobility, five are completed and one is in progress.

$21 Million in Small Business recovery loan funds disbursed

About 6,000 housing units in the pipeline across the nine cities and county

Two million pounds of debris cleared

An average of 12,000 gallons of fuel per year saved by the County Fleet’s alternate fuels program

Selected Project Details

GoalDefined Project Project Team StatusProject Details
RecoveryAssist local businesses with capital programs and assistance.. EDB, City of Santa Rosa, SBDCOnGoingEDB is in the second stage of 2nd $1 million grant application for revolving loan fund.
RecoveryAlign recovery efforts and organizations.Sonoma County ORR, City of Santa Rosa, Sonoma County Community FoundationOnGoingCounty and Santa Rosa efforts are aligned through focus leads; have presence on TACs/recovery orgs. Community Foundation’s OneSonoma project identifies common goals and efforts through systems mapping.
RecoveryDevelop an online portal that provides real time tracking of recovery progress.County of Sonoma, City of Santa RosaCompletedThe County of Sonoma and the City of Santa have developed online portals and update regularly.
HousingEstablish a permanent Sonoma County Employer Housing Council.Santa Rosa Metro Chamber, Employers, Financial Institutions, SSU, SRJC, Building ExpertsCompletedThe Employer Housing Council, which includes 15 major Sonoma County employers, will convene to advance progress toward the County’s housing goals (30,000 housing units by 2025), provide a forum for employers to share information, assist jurisdictions in removing barriers to development, and assist housing projects to financially get off the ground.
HousingExplore solutions for short-term workforce housing.EDB,
County of Sonoma, Cities, Employers
OnGoingCounty and Cities updated ADU, RV rules. 22 tiny homes have been built.
HousingEngage in a campaign to vote yes to the proposed housing bond. City of Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa Metro Chamber, Green Belt AllianceIncompleteThe $124 million Santa Rosa housing bond, Measure N, received 62% of the vote, falling short of the required two-thirds majority.
HousingUpdate public policies to expedite the development of new housing options.County of Sonoma, Cities,
OnGoingCounty and City of Santa Rosa formed a Renewal Enterprise District to address barriers, use land assets strategically, and target new capital sources. City of Santa Rosa is implementing a Downtown High-Density Residential Incentive Program, reviewing potential city property, has two Federal Opportunity Zones, and is express permitting downtown infill.
HousingInventory priority sites for new housing development.County of Sonoma, Cities,
CompletedRequest to the public for housing sites yielded 50+ responses, with the potential to create about 2,000 units.
Talent Establish a Talent Alignment CouncilEDB, WIB, SRJC, SSU, Empire College, EmployersCompleted8 employers and 3 educational institutions have formed a Talent Alignment Council to create career pathways programs and align curriculum with workforce needs.
TalentEstablish a construction skills training center.EDB, SRJC, CTE Foundation, North Coast Builders Exchange, Labor, EmployersIn ProgressSecond stage of $10 million grant application to build a center that would train 750 construction workers per year.
TalentDevelop industry sector partnerships around Sonoma County’s target clusters.EDB, WIB, Employers, Industry GroupsIn ProgressEDB and the Sonoma County Hospitality Association are launching a new Hospitality Apprenticeship Program. The Talent Alignment Council might explore more industry specific partnerships.
TalentExpand the WIB’s Dislocated and Training programs.WIB, EDBCompletedWIB received $3.2 million to expand program to assist dislocated with re-employment services and job training.
TalentPromote the manufacturing industry in Sonoma CountyWIB, EDBCompletedManufacturing Day 2019 saw a 40% increase in student participation from 2018 and featured over a dozen employers and educators from Sonoma County as well as site tours and hands on learning at four Local manufactures.
TalentApprenticeship placement in manufacturing.CTE Foundation, SCOE, EDBOnGoingSonoma Corps is an initiative of the CTE Foundation and many partners. Sonoma Corps is a 2 year program where students attend 1 year of labs surrounding workforce readiness their senior year of high school the student embarks on a gap year internship with a local manufacturer. The pilot program was launched in August 2019.
DiversificationCreate a Manufacturing and Tech Alliance.EDB, WIB, Manufacturing and Tech EmployersCompletedPartners came together on Jan. 16 to explore establishing a Manufacturing and Tech Alliance, will continue to meet.
DiversificationFacilitate a gap analysis of commercial real estate in Sonoma County.Sonoma County EDBCompletedEDB is creating a “gap analysis” of commercial real estate absorption in Sonoma County.
SustainabilityContinue efforts to convert all government fleets to electric vehicles.County of Sonoma, CitiesOnGoing29% of County fleet is electric or hybrid, saving 181K gallons of fuel and reducing CO2 emission by 1,615 metric tons since 2002.
MobilitySupport Access Sonoma Broadband’s efforts to close the digital divide.Access Sonoma Broadband, County ofSonoma, Cities, EDBOnGoingAccess Sonoma Broadband is working with County to adopt “dig once” policies, applying for USDA grant to bring high-speed broadband to 500+ residents and 70+ businesses in Dry Creek.
ImplementationForm Strategic Sonoma Executive CommitteeSonoma County EDBCompletedEDB board formed as the Strategic Sonoma Executive Committee.

Project Timeline & Implementation

Emerging Needs & Projects

GoalDefined Project Project Team StatusProject Details
RecoveryPower Safety Shutoff Guide (PSPS). EDBComplete The Sonoma County Economic Development Board has provided business owners in the community with an informational guide to operations during a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).
RecoveryEconomic Impact Analysis EDB, Sonoma County Tourism, Moody’s Analytics Complete Determines the projected losses due to the Pacific Gas and Electric companies’ public safety power shutoffs and continue to provide economic analysis of this event.
Recovery Business Recovery Guide (2019) EDB Complete The Sonoma County Economic Development Board created a business recovery guide for those affected by the 2019 Kincaid Fire. Resources included grants and loans.
Recovery Kincaid Fire Economic Impact Analysis EDB, Moody’s Analytics, County of Sonoma Complete Determines the projected economic losses due to the Kincaid fire.
Recovery SBA Resource and Business Assistance SBA, EDB Complete The Small Business Administration and the EDB are providing business assistance and financial resources to Sonoma County following the Kincaid fire.

Note: This section titled: “Emerging Needs and Projects” was not originally recommended in the 2018 Strategic Sonoma Action Plan. This section will be updated as required.

Self-Reported Partners

This is a list of community organizations that have reported activity related to these Strategic Sonoma projects. We recognize that there are many organizations working on these projects or similar projects who might not be listed below. If you know of any organizations that should be listed here, please let us know. Please note that all surveyed data contained in this report is based on the information self-reported by respondents, which was not factually verified by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. 

Access Sonoma Broadband
Bodega Bay Area Chamber
Burbank Housing
Ceres Community Project
City of Cotati
City of Cloverdale
City of Healdsburg  
City of Rohnert Park
City of Santa Rosa
City of Sebastopol  
City of Sonoma
Community Alliance with Family Farmers
Cotati Chamber of Commerce
County of Sonoma
CTE Foundation
Empire College
Farmers Guild
Goodwill Industries of the Redwood Empire  
La Luz Center
Napa/Sonoma Small Business Development Center Petaluma Education Foundation

Santa Rosa Junior College
Santa Rosa Metro Chamber
Sebastopol Chamber of Commerce
Society of Manufacturing and Engineering  Sonoma County Community Foundation
Sonoma County Economic Development Board Sonoma County Family YMCA
Sonoma County Farm Bureau  
Sonoma County Growers Alliance  
Sonoma County Lodging Association
Sonoma County Office of Education
Sonoma County Office of Resiliency and Recovery Sonoma County Tourism
Sonoma County Water Agency
Sonoma County Workforce Investment Board Sonoma State University
Town of Windsor
United Way of the Wine Country
Visit Santa Rosa
West County Health Centers
Windsor Chamber